What Causes Preeclampsia During Pregnancy

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Apr 01, 2013
Quick Bites

  • Preeclampsia occurs during a sudden and sharp rise in blood pressure.
  • Preeclampsia usually occurs with first pregnancies.
  • Obesity is a cause of preeclampsia in pregnancy.
  • Must get a regular check up for blood pressure.

A condition during pregnancy, preeclampsia occurs when there is a sudden and sharp rise in blood pressure, and there is swelling and albuminuria which is excess protein albumin that leaks into the urine. The swelling can occur in the face, hands and your feet.


What Causes Preeclampsia During Pregnancy

Preeclampsia in pregnancy may be possibly, though not certainly, be attributed to autoimmune disorders, blood vessel problems, diet and genes.


The Placenta

Preeclampsia usually occurs with first pregnancies. Often, preeclampsia is associated with problems with the placenta, many-a-times, caused by a shallowly implanted placenta as a response of the maternal immune system against paternal antigens from the foetus and its placenta. This immune reaction is characterised by secretion of unregulated inflammatory mediators from the placenta, acting on the vascular endothelium. While, at other times, the mother lacks the receptors for the proteins the placenta is using to down regulate the maternal immune system’s response to it.

Dietary Factors

Dietary factors also play a crucial role in causing preeclampsia in pregnancy. Since calcium helps maintain blood vessels and a normal blood pressure, its deficiency may lead to an increased blood pressure. Similarly, insufficient protein, excessive protein, fish oil, vitamin D and other diet factors also act as causes for its occurrence.


Obesity is another cause of preeclampsia in pregnancy. A high BMI is linked to the genetic tendency for diabetes, high blood pressure as well as insulin resistance and further, may affect the inflammatory system.

The mother must, therefore, get a regular check-up for high blood pressure or other preexisting problems such as diabetes, lupus, sickle cell disorder, hyperthyroidism, kidney disorder, etc.

Your preeclampsia can develop gradually, but in some cases it can also start abruptly, like as in after 20 weeks of pregnancy. This preeclampsia can range from mild to severe and if your blood pressure was normal before pregnancy then the signs and symptoms of this disease may include, dizziness, nausea, decrease urine output, and severe headaches.

Read more on Pregnancy Problems

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